Frequency of Renal Artery Stenosis After Renal Denervation in Patients With Resistant Arterial Hypertension

      Catheter-based ablation of nerves in the adventitia of renal arteries (renal artery denervation [RAD]) using radiofrequency energy can reduce blood pressure (BP) in patients with resistant arterial hypertension (RAH). Occurrence of renal artery stenosis after RAD is still an important concern. We systematically investigated the renal artery anatomy using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT) angiography in a consecutive series of patients 6 months after RAD. Patients with RAH were treated by RAD after exclusion of secondary causes of hypertension. RAH was defined by a mean systolic office BP >160 mm Hg. Renal artery imaging was performed 6 months after RAD by MRI angiography. In case of any contraindication for MRI, a CT angiography was performed. The primary end point was the incidence of significant renal artery stenosis (≥70% lumen diameter reduction). RAD was performed in 76 patients, and evaluation of renal artery anatomy by MRI (n = 66; 87%) or CT angiography (n = 10; 13%) was performed in all patients 6 months after RAD. We found no renal artery stenosis but 2 cases of new nonsignificant stenosis (50% TO 69% lumen diameter reduction). In responders, mean systolic office BP reduction was −30 mm Hg (p <0.001) and mean systolic 24-hour BP reduction was −18 mm Hg (p <0.001). In conclusion, the incidence of significant renal artery stenosis 6 months after RAD seems to be very low. However, late-onset development of nonsignificant renal artery narrowing cannot be excluded in some patients and should be anticipated in the case of RAH relapse or worsening of renal function after successful RAD.
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